China’s COMAC says first delivery of C919 jet planned for 2021

Employees work on a China’s home-grown C919 passenger jet at Manufacturing and Final Assembly Center of state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation in Shanghai. (Reuters)
Updated 06 February 2018
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China’s COMAC says first delivery of C919 jet planned for 2021

SINGAPORE: The Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) on Tuesday said it was aiming to make the first delivery of its C919 single-aisle jet in 2021, despite delays in flight testing.
Lu Zheng, COMAC’s deputy general manager of sales and marketing, told reporters on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow that the company expected Chinese certification to take three to four years. COMAC also has been speaking to US authorities.
“It should not have any impact” on the delivery time to the jet’s launch customer, China Eastern Airlines, he said. “We’re striving for 2021.”
The C919, which hopes to compete with Boeing Co’s 737 and the Airbus SE A320, is a symbol of China’s civil aerospace ambitions and President Xi Jinping’s push to upgrade manufacturing capabilities.
There was an almost five month-gap between the C919’s first and second flight, far longer than that of other new aircraft, which had raised concerns that COMAC’s plans to deliver the aircraft were running behind schedule. The plane has since undergone multiple tests, including a long-distance flight.
Lu also said US and European certification to come after it wins approval from Chinese regulators. Europe’s aviation safety regulator has started the certification process, but its US counterpart has not, he said.
He described recent partnerships between Airbus and Bombardier, as well as Boeing and Embraer as “normal,” but said that they would affect the markets its C919 and ARJ21 planes want to compete in.
“It will have an impact but they’ve also been impacted by us,” he said. “We will work hard to become, from a follower, to be a competitor, and in future, if we have the opportunity, to become a leader. But it’s a long road.”
The company does not plan to announce any orders at the Singapore Airshow, he added. But it planned to speak to potential customers from Southeast Asia.
The company, which is also co-developing a new wide-body jetliner with Russia, said in a statement that it had asked engine makers for proposals to supply the C929 jet’s propulsion system on December 21.
Russian officials have said the two countries expect to develop their own engine for the project.


Infectious diseases are set to become as great a risk for global business as climate change

Updated 47 min 13 sec ago
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Infectious diseases are set to become as great a risk for global business as climate change

LONDON: The Global Risks Report 2019 jointly compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Harvard Global Heath Institute describes a world that is woefully ill-prepared to detect and respond to disease outbreaks.
In fact, the world is becoming more vulnerable to pandemics, despite advances in medicine and public health.
Global GDP will fall by an average of 0.7 percent or $570 billion because of pandemics — a threat that is “in the same order of magnitude” to the losses estimated to be caused by climate change in the coming decades.
“Outbreaks are a top global economic risk and — like the case for climate change — large companies can no longer afford to stay on the sidelines,” said Vanessa Candeias, who heads the committee on future health and health care at the WEF.
Potential catastrophic outbreaks of disease occur only every few decades but regional and local epidemics are becoming more common. There have been nearly 200 a year in recent times and outbreaks of diseases such as influenza, Ebola, zika, yellow fever, SARS, and MERS have become more frequent over the last 30 years.
At the same time antibiotics have become less effective against bacteria.
The impact of influenza pandemics is estimated at $60 billion, according to a report by the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future — more than double previous estimates.
The trend is expected to get worse as populations increase and become more mobile due to travel, trade or displacement. Deforestation and climate change are also factors.
Businesses need to bone up on the risk of infectious diseases and how to manage them if the overall economy is to remain resilient.
Peter Sands, research fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute and executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said, “When business leaders are more aware of what’s at stake, maybe there will be a different dialogue about global health, from being a topic that rarely touches the radar screen of business leaders to being a subject worthy of attention, investment and advocacy.”
Predicting where and when the next outbreak will come is an evolving science but it is possible to identify certain factors that would leave companies vulnerable to financial losses, such as the nature of the business, geographical location of the workforce, the customer base and supply chain.
Disease is not the only threat. There is also fear uninformed panic. Past epidemics have shown that misinformation spreads as fast as the infection itself and can undermine and disrupt medical response.
The report advises planning for such emergencies by “trusted public-private partnerships” so that “businesses can help mitigate the potentially devastating human and economic impacts of epidemics while protecting the interests of their employees and commercial operations.”
It is estimated that the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2014-2016 cost $53 billion in lost commercial income and the 2015 MERS outbreak in South Korea cost $8.5 billion. According to the World Bank, disease accounts for only 30 percent of economic losses. The rest is largely down to healthy people changing their behavior as they seek to avoid becoming infected themselves.
The authors of the report will make recommendations next week at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.